Now that we've exhausted all our (misplaced) outrage on the Brian Williams scandal, America was barely able to muster a gasp at the revelation of Bill O'Reilly's similar lying fiasco. It might sound like hypocrisy, but the depressing reality was that we simply weren't that surprised to find out a sensationalist news mouth like O'Reilly was, in fact, sensationalizing his personal stories. The age where you could trust the man in your TV simply because he was wearing a nice suit and sitting behind a desk is long dead.
It's in uncertain times such as these that we at Cracked must renew our sacred vow to expose the inaccuracies, exaggerations, and flat-out inventions currently filling your news feed. Here are five more viral stories that make modern journalism the integrity equivalent of bumper bowling ...
Yeah, we're just gonna cut to the chase: This one is 100 percent bullshit. Not even a little bit true. To be clear, we're not saying the priest in this story made everything up, probably hoping to score a book deal like that zombie kid -- we're saying he doesn't exist, and 10 seconds of fact-checking could have prevented headlines like these:
Honestly, we're more offended by the clickbait than the lies.
As seen on your aunt's Facebook wall and sites like CBS Local, Inquisitr, India Today, and a famous, century-old Russian newspaper whose name ironically means "truth," a Catholic priest was declared dead for 48 whole minutes before being inexplicably revived from the afterlife, where he had the jaw-dropping revelation that God has a vagina. And while that's absolutely the story as told by The Daily Monitor, one of the first sites to pick up the story, that site credits something called the World News Daily Report for originally "cracking" this spiritual tale. If you're wondering, here's a few other stories this intrepid hub of journalism managed to break ...
Ringo Starr a "celebrity"? Get this spurious shit off our monitors.
But what about the picture of the bed-ridden old priest decorating the original article and many of the reposts? A stock photo from Getty Images, as Snopes points out. So the next time someone claims that the Internet has revolutionized the spread of truth, feel free to point them to the time that fucking CBS reported on a story about God's gender based entirely on the word of a site that claims Russia helped fake the moon landing.
The year 2015 is finally here, which means it's time to bring back all the future predictions that everyone's favorite film made about this year. We're talking, of course, about the mid-'90s Karen Duffy sci-fi epic Memory Run, which predicted a 2015 where doctors could transfer brains into younger bodies to achieve immortality. And now it appears like we're one step closer to this iconic pop culture trope:
At the very least, we've got a kick-ass sequel to Face/Off coming.
Apparently, we're only two WrestleManias away from the point when entire human bodies will become just another fashion accessory. With any luck, by 2020 we won't even need to buy clothes anymore -- we'll simply switch head receptacles when we get sick of the color. News of this Cronenbergian miracle is brought to you by CBS, Discovery, CNET, Telegraph, Fox, and Mashable, all debating the morality brought on by a single neuroscientist's prediction -- one he also made back in 2013, only with a slightly more conservative date estimate:
"Definitely before the Earth is swallowed by a supernova." -the same guy in 2011, probably.
Newsweek even speculated that this could revolutionize gender reassignment surgery. All of this despite the fact that pretty much everyone else in the medical community has called out this claim for being about as realistic as a Futurama episode (this one), considering every head transplant attempted so far has ended with a depressing menagerie of paralyzed animals. Not to mention the little complicated details like how the procedure would require an induced four-week coma that could result in "blood clots, infection, and reduced brain activity." So, sure ... head transplants could technically be a thing in 2017, the same way Re-Animator could become official school curriculum.
Since the gradual legalization of marijuana, we like to think that America is entering a cultural renaissance when it comes to understanding pot as neither a child-murdering heroin-appetizer nor a wonder drug that turns cancer into exploding rays of sunshine. The only way to get there is to avoid the hyperbolic on both sides of the conversation in an effort to reach a legal middle area that everyone can agree on.
Anyway, here's a story about rabbits getting high:
"Good. Serves 'em wight."
As New York Daily News, Brobible, Mediaite, and Huffington Post have all pointed and laughed at, it appears that at least one DEA agent wants to wrench us back another 50 years with that classic "all your rabbits will become degenerates" rhetoric. Ridiculous! So what exactly did this guy say about rabbits? We decided to listen to the audio recording of the Utah state judiciary meeting where this happened (we were gonna at some point, anyway) and found the bit where the DEA agent brought up the topic. It's at 1:02:00, and this is what he said:
Personally, I have seen entire mountainsides subjected to pesticides, harmful chemicals, deforestation, and erosion. The ramifications to the flora, the animal life, the contaminated water are still unknown. The deforestation has left marijuana grows with even rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana, where one of them refused to leave us. And we took all the marijuana around him -- but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone.
"Yeah, right. Like that could happen."
That's the full quote in all its context. Notice the striking lack of fist-pounding claims that "pot will make all your rabbits stoned and die" or "pot will ruin America." The irony here is that if all these sites actually wanted to debate the guy's argument, there was ample opportunity to do it by pointing out that (as the original Washington Post article about him mentioned) everything he complained about was the product of illegal marijuana farming -- presumably, once planting pot is made legal there will be no need to do it on mountainsides. But, nope, "STUPID DEA AGENT THINKS STONED RABBITS WILL TAKE OVER AMERICA" seemed like a much more productive angle for everyone involved.
Thanks to the current lack of research, vaping (smoking e-cigarettes) is the subject of great contention in the United States. On one side, we have a group of supporters holding expos, modification workshops, and protests against regulations, and on the other is a bunch of people getting really sick of the first group's shit. It doesn't take an array of studies to realize that when a bunch of people are acting unhealthily obsessed over their right to inhale a "harmless vapor water," that vapor is probably something that needs to be regulated for obvious addictiveness. Otherwise, how do you explain this:
"No data confirms whether or not it's healthier for lungs than smoking a pole."
When you think about it, it was only a matter of time before someone realized you could toke bodily fluids on one of these things, thus turning a most classic playground taunt into a reality. The viral video, as spread by Daily Dot, Brobible, and Heavy.com, features an unfortunate dupe spliffing a load of man-pulp for the bargain-basement betting price of 68 bucks (what, they couldn't chip in $1 more to make it perfectly terrible?). So, considering that the video is not on a porn site, how do all these sites know that what we're seeing is "genuine"? Well, because the video itself says so, obviously.
"Look at the consistency of the smoke. Yep, that's sperm vape, all right. I'd know it anywhere."
Shockingly, it was all made up. As a second video later explained, the jizz-smoking extravaganza was simply a hoax to uncover the endless limits of gullibility in the media, especially regarding videos showing people doing weird (but completely unproven) shit. As we've been pointing out, this is kind of like throwing a pebble in the Atlantic to test the depth of the ocean.
"Feeding children, soccer ... is America good at anything that counts?"
According to a photo gallery of apparently unimportant origin, it's totally been proven that American lunches are steamed turds when put side-by-side with the uber-nutritional luxury meals over in Finland ...
Prisoners get the same thing, but with only half a bread.
... Brazil ...
Weird how all the countries use the same trays.
... and Greece.
Seriously, that's one big-ass table.
Except, wait ... isn't Greece, like ... in a ridiculous economic crisis? Well, it's no damn wonder when their government is apparently spending millions of euros on pomegranate yogurt and oranges so fresh they are still on their freaking stems.
Only (if you haven't already guessed), it turns out that this amazing condemnation of the American state is actually from a Tumblr gallery of photos that (to their own admission) are "not intended to be exact representations of school lunches" but rather meant to portray the different types of cafeteria food around the world -- something they've also failed miserably at, considering that Greece doesn't even offer subsidized school lunches in the first place. Go USA!*
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
*Expression of pride does not include media outlets.
Tell Dave how misunderstood he is about vaping on his Twitter.